Loyola's rise in the rankings this week is a positive sign for the Eastern College Athletic Conference, but the No. 8 Greyhounds aren't the only evidence of the league's competitiveness.
No. 6 Denver went to the Final Four last spring and routed then-No. 6 Penn State, 14-6, on Saturday. No. 15 Fairfield joins Loyola as two of five remaining teams in Division I with undefeated records. Bellarmine knocked off then-No. 18 Dartmouth, 12-10, on March 6, Air Force edged Army, 9-8, in overtime, and even No. 19 Ohio State – which has dropped two straight – has a significant win against Denver.
"It's great," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said Wednesday. "It's what we've wanted. I think we're all pulling for each other when we play these non-conference games. As a group of coaches, we've challenged each other to play as tough of a schedule out of our own conference, knowing that if we can get a few of those wins, it's going to help the whole league."
Loyola (5-0) will put its unblemished mark on the line this Saturday when Air Force visits Ridley Athletic Complex. The Falcons are 3-1 and beat the Greyhounds, 8-6, last year for the first time in five meetings. That's why Toomey is not overlooking Air Force.